Regent Park Ministry
Great News! PTCC grants can be used to supplement grants approved through the New Ministries and Leadership Development Fund where initiatives meet the criteria of both funds. Learn more about this and the Regent Park Community Ministry GOOD NEWS story:
The recently launched New Ministries and Leadership Fund can provide funding for up to two thirds of the projected budget of a qualified initiative. Happily, PTCC grants can be used to supplement these grants where initiatives meet the criteria of both funds.
A great example – PTCC granted the Regent Park Community Ministry a large multi-year capital grant in 2016 with the hope that Regent Park would request long term grants from the New Ministries Fund, using the approved PTCC grant to satisfy the 1/3 funding requirement. That request for funding is moving forward.
The Regent Park Ministry, under the leadership of Kevin Moore, is a compelling story. Its genesis goes back 10 years to the old Regent Park United Church, which was declining in membership and ministry even as the Christian Resources Centre (CRC) was being revitalized and becoming more prevalent within the Regent Park community. As the new 87 unit affordable housing and community hub was established at 40 Oaks, the old United Church was torn down and a worship space was built into the new CRC structure. This once viable congregation had come to attract only a handful of people.
Kevin was recruited 5 years ago to establish a community ministry which would look quite different from the conventional congregational model. His challenge was to “reboot” the United Church and create a Christian community in a part of Toronto that had no institutional United Church presence. Starting with a blank canvas, he set out to consult with the community through one-on-one discussions and focus groups, seeking input and inviting the community to define what it needed. His ministry earned a reputation as being dependable and welcoming: a place where voices are heard.
Initially worship services were held twice a month and small groups met for discussion over coffee. Worship services are now held weekly and the range of activities and events has expanded to embrace a variety of themes. Great synergies have been achieved by involving many. Here are some of the activities and events:
- ‘Pub theology’ groups at local pubs
- Community carol sings
- A winter solstice multi-faith celebration at a local park with food and outdoor activities
- Chaplaincy support at 40 Oaks
- ‘Faith in Regent Park Group’ interfaith arts events
- A multi-faith group focused on countering Islamophobia
- A coalition to sponsor a refugee family which will be arriving from Lebanon at the end of September. Coalition Partners: Regent Park Community Management, St. Andrews United Church, Altona Road Church of the Nazarene (Pickering), Muslim Welfare Centre, Bridges of Mercy (Muslim refugee sponsorship) and the office of the local M.P. (Bill Morneau).
- Weekly broadcasts on faith and social justice on a local radio station
Kevin tells of a recent event in the community that illustrates the value of “being present”. Following a shooting in the area, a community safety meeting took place at the scene of the crime, and a vigil was held for the man who was shot. Kevin asked a woman in the crowd if she would like him to say a prayer for her friend who had died. As he delivered his prayer all that were present reached out to one another – Christians, Muslims, people of no faith, civilians and police personnel all holding hands – “connected” in their caring, “connected” by way of their community.
9th Annual Project Ramadan
Kevin shares key learnings from the Regent Park Ministry initiative:
- Don’t be afraid of trying new things and don’t get bent out of shape if things don’t turn out exactly as planned. Recalibrate, be flexible, be able to change mindsets
- In the words of St. Francis of Assisi and, more recently, Dr. Stephen Covey ‘Seek first to understand and then to be understood’. Keep your ear to the ground. Get to know who the people are and what they need.
- It’s all about synergy. Involving many. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Over the five years of this ministry, 300 to 400 lives have been touched. Great work Kevin! In our evolving world, your community ministry is an inspiration and a model for others to follow.
To learn more about Regent Park Ministry you can visit:
To learn more visit Grant Opportunites in Toronto Southeast